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Disorders Continued

Delirium
> <a> An onset of delirium can be dramatic and frightening to the family. There is a sudden change. A person can be just fine one day and "off the wall" the next. Delirium can result from illness (e.g. a urinary tract infection) or medications and often is reversible.


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Adjustment Disorder<b>
> <a> Some people are able to adapt to change relatively easily; others find it more difficult. Some life changes are relatively routine, others can be devastating. Adjusting to a new living situation, living alone, getting about without a car. dealing with a diagnosis of a serious illness are some examples of situations where a person may need extra encouragement and support. Symptoms of anxiety or depression and even certain behavior changes can suggest an adjustment reaction to a major life change.


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Anxiety<b>
> <a> As changes and/or losses occur, some people will become anxious; some depressed; some a little of both. Some symptoms that may appear are agitation, apprehensiveness, somatic complaints, a feeling that something bad is going to happen. If these symptoms persist and interfere with daily activities, the individual may be suffering from a panic disorder, characterized by disabling panic attacks. The American Psychological Association has an information page on panic disorders.


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Substance Abuse<b>
> <a> Substance abuse refers to the inappropriate use of chemical substances including alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription medications. A person may have a history of abuse that continues into later life, or the abuse may occur as a result of more current circumstances. Among an older population, inadvertent misuse of medications or combinations of medications is a common factor in substance abuse. It is helpful to remember that with aging metabolic rates change and medication dosages need to be adjusted to account for this. A dosage that worked fine 10 years ago may not be appropriate today. A regime of multiple medications, combined with over the counter remedies, can be confusing and may also lead to inappropriate self-medication.

It is also worth noting that the incidence of alcohol abuse rises significantly among widowers over the age of 75.

 

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